What is a “broodje aap verhaal”? The Dutch expression you didn’t know you needed

Do you have Dutch grandparents? Or had a Dutch nanny? Then maybe you were presented with a broodje aap verhaal as a kid. Or maybe your Dutchie friend fooled you with one recently โ€” without you realising!

So what exactly is this broodje aap verhaal?

Monkey-sandwich story?

Yup, you heard that right! Broodje aap verhaal literally translates to “monkey-sandwich story.” But don’t fear, your oma, nanny, or that funny friend didn’t feed you monkey sandwiches. ๐Ÿ˜‰

A better (or at least more accurate) translation is probably old-wives tale or urban legend.

But why?

If a broodje aap verhaal really means an old-wives tale though, why did the Dutch come up with “monkey-sandwich story”? Trust us, we were a little lost at first too.

However, like with many other quirky Dutch words or expressions (some of which aren’t even translatable!), we need to understand the origin of the term broodje aap verhaal to understand the translation.

So, the Dutch term for an old-wives tale essentially comes from a famous old-wives tale! It seems that the original broodje aap verhaal was meant to put children off junk food โ€” served up as a sandwich probably wasn’t how they’d envisioned getting a monkey with their Happy Meal.

READ MORE | 9 Ye Olde Dutch words (that we should totally use again)

There are many more peculiar Dutch broodje aap verhaalen floating around but we’re hardly surprised that one of the most famous ones has to do with bread. It is the Netherlands after all. ๐Ÿ˜†

Do you know any broodje-aap verhaalen? Or were you ever fooled by one? Tell us in the comments below!

Image: pressmaster/Depositphotos

Christine Stein Hededam ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ
A Dane with a special place in her heart for Minnesota, Christine is now falling in love with everything Dutch. Between finishing her bachelorโ€™s degree, learning Dutch, and doing yoga teacher training, you will find her wandering about the Hague. Always up for visiting new places, she loves to explore the Netherlands with friends and takes pride in scoping out cute cafรฉs (wherein to discuss books, big plans, and food).



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